By Willow Howard—

MUNCIE, Ind.—Muncie Central High School alumnus and 2021 Delaware County Fair Queen 1st Finalist Taegan Carpenter was recently awarded the highly competitive Boren Scholarship. The Boren Scholarship is an initiative of the Office of Defense Language and National Security Education of the United States Department of Defense. This year, it has been awarded to 208 university students across the country and offers each of them up to $25,000 to study abroad in fields critical to national security. Carpenter will study for a year in Taiwan to improve his Mandarin skills.

Carpenter is a 19-year-old student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. She is a recipient of the SIU’s full scholarship, the Chancellor’s Scholarship. She is majoring in Anthropology and Chinese with a minor in Spanish.

Carpenter developed an early interest in world cultures through his family’s hosting of international students and his participation in the Ball State University Family Friendship Program, through which they befriended several BSU students from China. and their families over the years. A Chinese family invited Carpenter to visit them after they returned to China. As a sophomore at Muncie Central, Taegan made arrangements with Mr. Walker, Principal of Muncie Central, and his professors at the time to continue his studies remotely for more than two weeks to take up this opportunity. In a press release from Pete Rosenbery of the SIU, Carpenter recounts the impact the trip to China had on her.

“I was like, ‘Yes, this is for me! ‘” Carpenter said. “I like to learn the culture and the language. I learned so much when I was there. I decided then and there that I was going to pursue Chinese and try to be some sort of international translator.

Carpenter also credits her experiences with the Muncie Central swim team for helping her realize that she enjoys pushing her limits with the support of her teammates who all work together to get results in tough situations. high stakes. Her desire to be part of a team led her to get involved with ROTC during her freshman year at SIU. Although she decided not to pursue a career in the US military, her ROTC experiences influenced her decision to apply for a major national scholarship aimed at preserving national security.

The Boren Scholarship also includes a federal service requirement, which means Carpenter will work in a federal position for at least one year after graduating from SIU. She hopes this will propel her career in translation or another field related to national security. In her interview with Pete Rosenbery, she explained the connection between her love of teamwork and her pursuit of a career in the federal public service.

“I discovered that I was interested in the federal government and international politics. I discovered that I appreciated this community. When you work in federal politics, you work as a team.

After spending the summer at his home in Muncie, Taegan will leave for Taiwan in September. The Taiwanese academic year will continue until mid-June 2023. During this time, Carpenter will take a full course load in Mandarin and complete a freelance anthropology project. Credits for his coursework and independent studies will be transferred to his home university, SIU. According to the SIU press release, Carpenter hopes to get involved in the local community in Taiwan and will live with a host family.

“I hope that by the time I’m done[,] I’ll be pretty close to being fluent in Mandarin; that’s my goal,” she said. “I will put myself in situations where I will be completely immersed in the language.

Taegan is the daughter of Andrea and Michael Wolfe and Yancey and Missy Carpenter.